Texas booster proves Charlie Strong's new gig is not the best coaching job in America

Good luck, Charlie. Texas' job may be a great one, but from renegade regents reaching out to Nick Saban a year ago; to billionaire lawyer Joe Jamail having major influence; to the likes of Red McCombs talking nonsense and the university having to listen, Texas football is a political mess.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 9, 2014

Charlie Strong has a new job. And it's a good job. A very good job. Head football coach at the University of Texas.

But it's not the job it was billed to be. It's not the best coaching job in America.

Never really should have been much debate about that, but just in case, Red McCombs ended all questions this week.

The Texas booster, who last week promoted Jon Gruden for the job, told a San Antonio radio station that “the whole thing is a little bit sideways. I don't have any doubt but what Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.”

Hey, now there's an idea.

Of course, we all know that Strong was a defensive coordinator extraordinaire, and if you don't believe me, just ask Sammy Bradford and Phil Loadholt and DeMarco Murray and that 2008 Oklahoma juggernaut that in the national championship game was held to 14 points by Strong's Florida defense.

And we all know that the 86-year-old McComb's ramblings are to be laughed off. Except McCombs is symbolic of a bigger Longhorn problem.

Everything's bigger in Texas, they say, and that includes booster intrusion.

From renegade regents reaching out to Nick Saban a year ago, when Mack Brown still was gainfully employed as UT's football coach; to billionaire lawyer Joe Jamail having major influence; to the likes of McCombs talking nonsense and the university having to listen, Texas football is a political mess.

Heck, the whole university is a political mess. President Bill Powers was given a vote of confidence, just the other day. By a 5-4 vote of the regents. And Gov. Rick Perry, a former Texas A&M yell leader, is a noted combatant of Powers' in trying to manage the campus.

Meanwhile, 32-year athletic director DeLoss Dodds, a tough cuss of an administrator who could navigate through such a quagmire, is retired. Strong was hired by new athletic director Steve Patterson, who has no idea where the land mines or the bodies are buried.

This is the best job in America?

Experts like Barry Switzer espouse UT as UTopia because of the Longhorns' unlimited resources and fabulous recruiting ground. Texas has great weather and great tradition. Being right in the middle of Texas and being the state's flagship school makes recruiting almost automatic. Pick who you want, sign them up and go have a nice dinner hard by the Colorado River.

All excellent points. I didn't say it wasn't a good job. I just said it wasn't the best. Which is why all the talk was silly about Nick Saban or one of the Harbaughs or Gruden or someone with a great job jumping to Austin.

The best jobs create the best working environments. Texas has some issues.

Mack held on for 16 years. He also was very successful and very charming. Strong seems like a nice fellow but doesn't exactly win the Charisma Bowl. Lose to Baylor twice or once, and Strong will hear from more than just Red McCombs.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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